In 1987, Masae Torai caught a flight to the United States with 4 million yen in savings to undergo a sex-reassignment operation and fulfill a long-held wish to become male.

His wish came true. After being diagnosed as a person with gender identity disorder at a U.S. hospital, Torai, the pen name he has used for several books on transsexualism he has written, underwent surgery at age 23 to remove breasts and lacteal glands.

He returned to Japan and started taking male hormones in a bid to have a body more like that of a man. Two years later, Torai's ovaries were removed in the U.S.